05/07/2007 11:00PM

Insurance bill in House again


Legislation has been reintroduced into the House of Representatives that would require the racing industry to use simulcasting revenue to pay for insurance covering jockeys and backstretch workers.

The legislation, introduced last Thursday, would require at least 50 percent of all money from simulcasting that goes to fund horsemen's associations to be redirected. That revenue would instead fund ontrack injury and health insurance for jockeys, exercise riders, trainers, and other backside personnel.

The same legislation failed to pass out of committee last year under heavy opposition from many groups in the horse racing industry.

The bill is co-sponsored by Bart Stupak, a Democrat from Michigan and chairman of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on oversight and investigations, and Ed Whitfield, a Republican from Kentucky, the panel's ranking minority member.

The legislation also includes language that would prohibit any horse from entering a race if the horse had ever been administered anabolic steroids, currently regulated in only one racing jurisdiction, Iowa.

Also in Washington, Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts has introduced a bill that would allow Internet gambling operations to be licensed and regulated by the federal government.

Last year, federal legislation made all Internet gambling operations illegal, except those offering wagering on horse racing.